mele kalikimaka

December 30, 2017

Thanks to my parents, we spent our Christmas in Hawaii this year and it was absolutely beautiful. This was our first time traveling this far with Charlie, so we kept most of our trip pretty low-key and tried to relax during one of Max's last breaks before Step 1 and rotations begin this upcoming summer.
Max has a friend from Honolulu who told us about an easy hike to King Kameahameha's summer palace ruins (which you can see in the pictures above). "Easy" was what grabbed my attention, so one morning we decided to drive down the island to try it out. The only trick was finding it. After about half an hour of searching, we found the hiking trail entrance. You have to walk through a bamboo forrest in order to get to it, and after about 100 yards, you are supposed to turn right up a small hill and voila! You're there. Somehow we missed that memo and ended up crawling through trees, knee deep in mud, while carrying a baby. You can then imagine my delight when we heard something snorting nearby and Max, who was convinced it was a wild hog, made me carry a stick the remainder of the hike in case it came charging. 

ANYWAY, we DID end up finding it and we DID survive and these pictures literally cost us blood, sweat and tears but it really WAS amazing. Apparently during one of the celebrations at the palace 150 years ago, there were thousands of Hawaiians gathered in that same spot for this amazing luau. They still consider the grounds really sacred so a plaque asks that you whisper to respect it's reverence. In the end, I'm so glad we risked our lives for the experience. (Ha Ha I'm being dramatic. I am glad we did it though.)

One of my very favorite places that we also visited was Pearl Harbor. Though this was Max and my third time going together, I was so happy we went. It's always a humbling experience. It was there I read that Eleanor Roosevelt kept the following poem in her wallet during WWII:

Dear Lord / Lest I continue my complacent way / 
Help me remember somewhere out there / A man died for me today / 
As long as there be war / 
I them must ask and answer / Am I worth dying for?

We also spent an afternoon at Sunset beach, swam in the waterfalls up Waimea Valley, ate plenty of food, (even at the BYU-Hawaii cafeteria; happy to report my Apple Jacks are still there), but most of all we spent time with family which was my favorite part.

We're pretty sure Charlie's first words will be nana and papa. He loves his grandparents.


Even though we tried to spend our time relaxing, 
this was pretty much what we looked like at the end of every day.


Hawaii will always be a home away from home. Whenever Max and I drive along the North Shore we point out little homes along the beach where we feel like we could live someday. It's just a special place.

Charlie Turns 1

November 25, 2017


"Birth will always be the most commonplace of miracles, an event at once familiar and phenomenal, timeless and immediate, briefly making angels of us all. When a child is born the world is altered in an instant. A new voice is heard, a new love comes into being. Years later, we pause and say, 'Yes that's when it all began, on that day, in that room, when I saw that face.' Birth is the smallest of magnificent things and the greatest of little ones."
-Call the Midwife

Charlie, you made me a mother one year ago today, and it has been the happiest year of my life. Before you were born, I had no idea how exhausting and humbling becoming a mother would be. I also had no idea how silly or affectionate I'd become. I didn't know it could make me love your dad in a way I had never loved him before, and how close it would all feel to heaven, those first few days especially.

It's been a year of reading lots of baby sleep books and searching Google for tips like how to get you to use a sippy cup; figuring out how to carry you, and an arms worth of groceries up three flights of stairs. It's been holding your hands when you learned how to walk, and holding you close when you are feeling sick. It's been lots of happy songs, and Brown Bear Brown Bear. It's been everything to me.

Words will never come close to being able to express how much I love you, or our family of three. Happy Birthday Charlie boy! I love you forever.

a trip to the pumpkin patch

November 7, 2017

This last weekend we visited our very favorite pumpkin patch with Charlie for the first time. Max and I have been there many times before, but as is the case with most first-time parents, everything just seems a little bit more magical when you are bringing your little one along. I can't even imagine what Disneyland will be like ;)


Charlie was terrified of the goats but didn't even blink going down the silo slides. We've also learned that Charlie is a people-watcher and perhaps sitting at the airport would be just as exciting as the petting zoo. Whatever the case, one thing I try to remember is that the day will come when Charlie will prefer to hang out with his friends rather than his parents. Is it weird that I already think about that? I don't know why, but on days that are particularly exhausting the reminder that it's already going by too fast keeps me grateful for afternoons like these.

park city with friends

October 31, 2017


Our annual fall break getaway was another success... at least when we forget the fact that everyone who went ended up with the flu the following week. Max and I actually had to leave around 4 AM Sunday morning because Charlie's fever was getting out of control and he refused to sleep. So okay, maybe it wasn't an entirely successful weekend but I continue to count those lucky stars of mine that our group of friends are ours, and that these traditions continue.. Come hell or high water, as Zac Efron once said.


Seeing Charlie "become friends" with your friend's children is surreal. Weren't we all still living at home and calling each other on landlines just yesterday? Charlie also went on his first mini date with little Willow who is so cute I could scream.
Perhaps another arranged marriage is in the making?



Charlie and the rest of us are still on the mend, so we will spend Halloween night with some friends eating Halloween candy and finishing the rest of Stranger Things in our matching skeleton jammies. Hope all of you have a Happy Halloween!!

chicken enchilada chili soup (from zupas!)

October 27, 2017


Truly the best soup I've ever made. And it's fail-proof. If you can fail a recipe, even following the directions to a T -- I will fail that recipe. This one is impossible to get wrong though, at least for me, which means, at least for the rest of you too. I made it for my parents who came over for dinner a few weeks ago, and again last weekend for friends up in Park City. Every time this recipe has worked like a charm!
Ingredients
  • large chicken breasts
  • 2 cans (10 oz) red enchilada sauce
  • 1 can (10 oz) green enchilada sauce
  • 2 cans (10 oz) can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes (mild) with green chilies
  • 2 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 c. sour cream
Instructions
  1. In a large slow cooker, add the chicken breasts and both enchilada sauces. Cook for several hours on low for 3-4 hours until the chicken is cooked. Remove chicken, shred and return to crockpot.
  2. Add all the remaining soup ingredients, except the sour cream and cook for 1-2 more hours or until heated through.
  3. Whisk in the sour cream and turn off the heat.
  4. Top with tortilla strips, sour cream, and cheddar cheese. 

robert frost in the fall

October 12, 2017


I remember first reading Robert Frost in my Dad's home office years ago. At that time, we lived up in the mountains, surrounded by trees, which at first I hated because I was so used to living in a city. But I distinctly remember that autumn afternoon, when I pulled a book off his library shelf entitled The Poetry of Robert Frost. It was a 1969 edition and the only reason I chose that book in particular was because the cover had a picture of trees, somewhere in the woods, at dusk. It seemed fitting.

Anyway, it was one of those 'snapshot memories' as I call them, reading the poem below in my dad's office, feeling grateful for that home sitting in a large leather chair, watching the falling leaves outside. And even now, years later, it's the one book I pick up to read every year around October (aside, of course, from the Tales of Sherlock Holmes).

So I thought I'd post a favorite:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

(you can read another Frost favorite I posted here)

a brief bingham update

October 10, 2017

The fact Charlie is going to turn 1 next month is beyond me. Where does the time go? The pictures above show off his newest goose egg in all its glory. We've got a walker on our hands who bumps and plows into just about everything. Charlie also has two little teeth coming through (!!!) and loves to eat cheese (mama's boy!), play in the bath, and go for afternoon walks. He says mama and dada (though we aren't sure he knows what it means) and remains content most of the time by playing in the fridge, hitting the dishwasher or chewing on the remote control. Don't get sucked into buying baby toys! They want everything else instead.

Max, on the other hand, is busy with Year 2 of school. He started school back in July (yikes!) and can add the gynecology unit to his repertoire (as pictured above. he'll have to tell you about giving his first prostate exam sometime too...) Though the weeks leading up to finals can get rough, I have to be honest and say I must have really prepared myself for the worst, because medical school has not been nearly as difficult as I thought it would be.

As for the debt, yes it continues to grow, and yes, it haunts you in your sleep, but knowing residency begins in just a few years (and with that comes a paycheck) eases the anxiety a little bit. Max still remains mostly undecided when it comes to what he wants to specialize in, but once he begins rotations next June he will get a better idea, (though right now I'm rooting for emergency med or anesthesia).

As for me, all is well and dandy. We're lucky in that we live near so many friends, family and people in similar stages of life, and I find myself constantly reaching out to other moms trying to navigate all the ups and downs of motherhood and everything in between. I remain convinced more than ever that women need to be each other's team mates and cheerleaders and friends, and will forever count the amazing women around me as one of the many tender mercies I've been blessed with.

Now, before I get all preachy zoom in on that dummy's face in the picture above. It will give you nightmares for weeks.

my very best friend

October 6, 2017


I used to think it was a funny and strange thing when a mom would refer to her child as one of her best friends. Maybe when they grew up, sure. But when they're just little and can hardly even phrase a sentence? It didn't make any sense to me. It even came across as a little bit cheesy.

I get it now though. I really do. And I apologize to any mom anywhere who said something along those lines to me and I pre-judged. I watch Charlie across the room and when he looks over and smiles at me I think the same thing every time: He's my best friend.

Charlie and Buzz

September 23, 2017


If this doesn't melt your heart, I don't know what will.

our first summer as a family of three

August 31, 2017


To be honest, I thought my glorious summers would end once Max started med school and I became a mom... but I can add that to the list of the things I was definitely wrong about. Whether it's baseball games, drive-in movies, quick weekend trips, hiking (not my favorite - nor will it ever be), and lots of swimming in our free time, it has surprisingly all been sweeter with our Charlie and the time I do get to spend with Max. Yes, he's busy. And yes, leaving the house requires way more effort than I thought it would with a baby in tow. But now that summer is slowing down, I realized I am sure going to love the memories of our first summer as a family of three.

Below are a few of the random pictures I still had saved on my phone. If I get around to finding my hard drive I will add more soon. Better to post late than never!

Lots of JW trips

FINALLY MADE A WATERMELON SHARK FOR SHARK WEEK

The aforementioned hike in the arctic tundra... misery.

Diet Coke is my love language and Max put my birthday fridge collage to shame.

Seeing Ed Sheeran was hands down one of the best concerts of all time. He's incredible live.

So long softball games, so long summer. See you next year!

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